Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam Executed

As we all should know, Saddam was executed last night (or this morning, the time difference still confuses me). I thought about blogging about it last night, but I really didn't have anything to say about it. But after what I over heard today, I do.

I was in Wal-mart today and I was walking through the fabric department. I overheard the woman who cuts the fabric talking to a customer about the people who had died in the last few days. I hear her say James Brown and Gerald Ford and then she says another name, which neither I nor the lady she was actually talking to caught. The other lady asks her to repeat the last name and she says "Osama Bin Laden". The other lady then says "Oh yeah" as if she now knows exactly what she's talking about. Now either I missed something REALLY HUGE while I was away or they both meant Saddam Hussein. It was a temptation to correct them, but I just walked away.

I have to wonder if she really didn't know the difference or if the names just got confused in her mind. I've seen that sort of thing happen before, where a person says one name when they mean another and everyone seems to know who they mean and not really realize that they've misspoken. But it seems just as likely in this case that neither one really knew what they were talking about. If so, that's really pretty sad. Let's hope that one misspoke and the other was just being polite.

Friday, December 29, 2006

I'm back!

I'm back from journey into the technology-free zone that is my mother-in-law's house. I had some early withdrawal pains, but I survived relatively unaffected.

We actually had a very nice visit, but it was a whirlwind tour. We were on the road as long or longer than we were actually there. That is usually the case at Christmas because the window of opportunity is so small.

I'm finding that road trips really wipe me out. I hope I can survive our planned trip to Yellowstone in the summer. That one will be two weeks long. Geez, I wish we could fly. I love flying, I hate interstate highways!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merry Fake Christmas!

Today was fake Christmas in the Cooper household. It is an odd tradition that I married into. The years that we travel north to New Jersey for actual Christmas Day, we have "fake Christmas" before we leave. Maybe it's not that odd, but it seemed odd to me at first.

Anyway tomorrow morning we will be leaving for our long journey northward. While there I will be without internet access. My mother-in-law has no computer, no cable t.v., no DVD player (although we are taking a portable one of those) and no VCR. But I guess it's not that bad to have a little technology-free time.

Anyway, have a Merry Christmas when the time actually comes for the rest of the world and hopefully I'll be blogging again before the New Year!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Why are women irrational?

Finally, my answer to the question that you have all been searching for. (I have noticed that since I started this blog, many people who find it do so by searching for an answer to that very question.) Now, I'm not a psychologist or anything, so I'm not really trained to answer the question, but I'll give my take on the situation, none the less. So here it goes.

First issue: If someone is asking "why are women irrational?" it is probably safe to assume the person asking is male, so I'll begin there. The real question at hand is "why do men view women as irrational?" I'm sure that not all men do, but for the purpose of this blog post, I'll be working from that assumption.

Second issue: What do you mean by rational/irrational? Not everyone means the same thing when they use the term. I'll give my understanding of the term and go from there. And yes, I know that at least one reader out there will disagree with me, but that is okay, too.

There are two main sources of my understanding of rationality/irrationality.
1) Notes from one of my professors in graduate school:
The four steps of rational action:
a) state an objective
b) look at options
c) evaluate the likelihood of success
d) evaluate the cost of pursuing options
(Rinehart, class notes, Intro. to Int'l Relations, Sept. 8, 2004)

2) Plato's Republic (I couldn't find a complete copy on line to link to but this site has a decent overview of the part I'm talking about).
Plato suggests that there are three parts to the human soul (or three souls) that guide human behavior. These are the rational, the spirited and the appetitive souls. For Plato, the rational soul is the logical decision-making part of human beings, the linked site equates it with the mind or the intellect. The appetitive soul equates to emotions or desires. Plato sees these forces as constantly in conflict with the rational soul. These attributes are often equated with irrational behavior.

So, to bring the two sources together, rationality is using reason and intellect to weigh options on the path to achieving a stated goal. When emotions and desires (often carnal) cloud an individual's ability to think logically and intellectually weigh options, that individual can be understood as acting irrationally. This can include emotions such as jealousy or love and desires like lust or greed. Also included in irrational motivations would be superstition or blind faith. These are beliefs that cannot be verified using empirical data.

Finally, my answer: Both men and women are irrational at times. We allow ourselves to be distracted from our goals by emotions, desires and non-rational motivations. I believe, however, that men are inclined to view women as irrational, and believe themselves to be wholly rational, because they tend to be distracted from rational pursuits by different irrational forces. Men understand the irrational forces that distract them, like jealousy and lust, but they tend not to understand the irrational factors that affect women. (And of course, there is always the hormone issue, but I'm not gonna go there right now.)

I repeat, I am not saying this is true of all men, I'm just addressing the many men who ask that particular question on a regular basis. Stop and think for a minute, "Is everything I do rational?" The answer is, probably not. Don't use the term to label women, try to understand that it affects all of us, just in different ways.

And although I'm not a trained psychiatrist/psychologist, here is a quote from someone who is.

Heroes Update

It would appear that the Heroes marathon on January 1st, on NBC will only be 3 hours long (from 7PM central to 10PM central) and will only include episodes 5, 6 and 7. So, I guess if I'm going to get caught up I'm going to have once again brave the world of Internet viewing. It must be my Internet connection, but when I tried to watch the first one on the NBC website the video portion kept freezing up. Maybe I'll have better luck next time.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

What to watch. . .

I'm getting a little tired of the shows I normally watch on T.V. I mostly watch crime dramas and they are just getting so predictable. Every now and then they throw me a curve, but usually I can figure out "whodunit" or what "the twist" is going to be less than half way through the show. Often time I can pick out the guilty party within the first scene where that character appears. It's not quite so interesting as it once was.

I watch some comedies too. I'm getting a little tired of Two and a Half Men, it's just gone way over the top with its raunchiness. I do, however, still love How I Meet Your Mother and The Class.

Anyone got any suggestions of shows I should switch to.

UPDATE: I watched the first episode of Heroes and it was very interesting. I may have to wait for the marathon to see the rest of them. Watching on the computer was problematic.
H/T: Steven

Friday, December 15, 2006

Judith Regan FIRED!

Via MSNBC - O.J.’s would-be publisher Regan fired: Former insdustry force sacked in wake of canceled ‘If I Did It’ book
O.J. Simpson’s would-be publisher, Judith Regan, was fired Friday, her sensational, scandalous tenure at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. ending with the tersest of announcements.

“Judith Regan’s employment with HarperCollins has been terminated effective immediately,” HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman said in a statement.
I know she expected the O.J. book to be a big deal, but I'm quite sure this is not what she had in mind.

Poliblog Update

I am pleased to report that Verizon has informed Poliblog owner Steven Taylor that they will be changing the name of their blog from poliblog to Policy Blog.

Congratulations Steven on your triumph over Verizon and their attempted thievery!

Are women more irrational?

I came across this quote and felt that I had to share, given the name of the blog and all.
There's no evidence whatsoever that men are more rational than women. Both sexes seem to be equally irrational.
-Albert Ellis

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Professorial Funnies

Some funny stories from professors around the blogosphere.

Dr. Richard Scott Nokes has two stories here and here.

Dr. Steven L. Taylor links to one here and has his own here.

I'm sure I find these particularly amusing because I'm married to a professor and I hope to be one myself someday. Enjoy!

Show your support!

Steven Taylor is having some issues with Verizon over the name poliblog. It would appear that Verizon thinks it is appropriate to steal the name of an established blog and use it as their own. Get the whole story at the REAL Poliblog. Show your support by linking to his blog and getting the word out in the blogosphere.

Verison = thief

Chiming in on the Pinochet debate

But only sort of.

In reading all the many, many, many post and comments on Pinochet over at Poliblog these last few days, I'm reminded of a quote from Abraham Lincoln during the Lincoln-Douglas debate (quoted in The Open Space of Democracy). Lincoln says:
What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence? It is not our crowning battlements, our bristling sea coasts, our army and our navy. These are not our reliance against tyranny. All of these may be turned against us without making us weaker for the struggle. Our reliance is in the spirit which prized liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism at your own doors. Familiarize yourselves with the chains of bondage and you prepare your own limbs to wear them. Accustom to trample on the rights of others, you have lost the genius of your own independence and become the fit subjects of the first cunning tyrant who rises among you.
Those who would praise Pinochet are obviously forgetting these words of wisdom. Now Lincoln was certainly no saint, but his words still ring true. (Turning the military against the liberty and independence of Chile's people is exactly what Pinochet did.) When we forget to prize liberty, we forget who we are and what we stand for as a nation.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It's official

It is now completely official, I have my Master's degree. I received the diploma today in the mail (I didn't walk in graduation because I forgot to order my cap and gown). It feels good. I really feel like I have accomplished something, much more so than getting my BS degree.

And yes, there are signatures on the diploma, but it was too big for my scanner to get the whole thing.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Crimson Tide

Steven Taylor posted some commentary on the University of Alabama's head football coach search. He suggests:
The ongoing assumption that the Alabama job is the job in college football continues to permeate Bamanation, despite the fact that it simply isn’t what it once was, and probably won’t be again, given the way college ball works these days.
And I really can't argue with him. However, it did make me think of an old song and something that one of my friends once told me. My friend's husband is Italian and she says that Italians are still caught up in the illusions of grandeur that hearken back to Roman Empire. I think Alabama football fans suffer from the some problem.

There was a time when the phrase "The Crimson Tide" was synonymous with "winner". And the fact was immortalized in song, "Deacon Blues" by Steely Dan.
They got a name for the winners in the world
I want a name when I lose
They call alabama the crimson tide
Call me deacon blues
That is a hard thing to let go of. If my friend is right that the Roman Empire still shapes the psyche of Italians today, it will surely be many a generation before the grandeur of Bear Bryant releases the psyche of Alabama fans.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Joy-Riding on a Zamboni

Have you ever wanted to take a Zamboni out for a joy-ride? Well don't try it in downtown Boise, even if it is the middle of the night. Someone will probably turn you in. Check this out. KTVB News reports:
Two employees have been fired from the city's ice skating rink after making a midnight fast-food run -- in a pair of Zambonis.

The ice-groomer jockeys, both temporary city employees whose names and ages weren't released by Boise Parks and Recreation, had to negotiate at least one intersection with a traffic light on their late-night creep from Idaho Ice World.

An anonymous caller who alerted a telephone hot line set up by Boise Mayor Dave Bieter was gassing up his car at a nearby service station at about 12:30 a.m. on Nov. 10 when he saw the Zambonis roll through a Burger King drive-through, order food, and then return to the skating rink. The rubber-tired vehicles, whose top speed is about 5 mph, drove about 1 1/2 miles in all, said Parks Department Director Jim Hall.

Apparently this isn't the only case of reckless Zamboni behavior in the country either. The article points out an unrelated case in New Jersey:
Last year, Morristown, N.J., Zamboni operator John Peragallo was charged with drunken driving after another employee at the Mennen Sports Arena called police to report the machine was speeding and nearly crashed into the boards. Peragallo, 63, lost his Zamboni privileges.

I think my favorite quote from the whole article is this:
Strange things can happen on a Zamboni.

I never would have guessed it, but I guess it is true, Zambonis can just do strange things to a person's mind.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

It's a little hard to believe

I turned in my last assignment today. I'm now finished with graduate school. It's really kinda hard to believe. In some ways, it seems like I just started and in other ways, it has become such a huge part of my life that it seems odd for it to be over. I'm really glad that I did it. I think it has been good for me. I'm really looking forward to having the time to do all the things I haven't had time for lately. But it really seems odd not to have that push of a paper I have to write, a book I have to read in under a week, or something. Maybe I can remember how to relax, but then again, I'm not sure I've ever really known how to do that.

Hum. . .I guess I need to change my profile information now, don't I? What should I call myself now that I'm not a graduate student anymore? Anyone got any ideas? Educated bum sounds promising. . .